Aromatherapy for gentle healing
Lavender is a popular choice because of its curative properties
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering a person’s mind, mood, cognitive function or health. The inhaled effects of these essential oils extracted from the roots, barks, stems and flowers of various plants, stimulate brain function and induce relaxation. Aromatherapy is fast gaining popularity as an alternative healing technique for pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive functioning. There are innumerable types of essential oils available today and I will attempt to acquaint you with some of the more popular oils and their benefits.
Let’s start with one that’s now so common that we’ve forgotten that it’s an essential ingredient of aromatherapy. It’s a nostalgic fragrance that’s widely used in bath soaps, deodorants, talcum powder, potpourri, room fresheners and more. It brings back memories of childhood holidays and long drives on hilly roads, lavender bushes shimmering against the blue sky, the pretty lilac and purple flowers stirring up an intense, sweet sensation.
But lavender is much more than just pretty and calming. It’s one of the most powerful remedies in the plant world, offering both physical and emotional relief for problems as varied as burns, migraines, insomnia, insect bites, skin problems, infections, stress and nervous tension. It’s believed to be an antidepressant, antiseptic, decongestant, deodorant, sedative and analgesic. It has a balancing effect on the central nervous system and appears to cleanse and soothe the mind and spirit. It’s also widely used as a pain reliever and helps to reduce high blood pressure and provides relief from insomnia. It’s also very beneficial for skin conditions such as sunburns, burns, acne and eczema. It owes this amazing spectrum of healing powers to its complex chemical makeup.
Lavender is a shrub and the essential oil is obtained by distilling its lovely purple flowers that are extensively cultivated in England, France and Yugoslavia. It has a floral, light and clear aroma with woody undertones. It’s one of the most popular essential oils in aromatherapy and has been used since time immemorial as an anti-septic, perfume or insect and moth repellant in linen drawers!
It’s commonly blended with Bergamot, Chamomile, Geranium, Jasmine, Lemon, Patchouli and Mandarin.